Maintaining abstinence from alcohol after going through withdrawal requires great discipline and dedication. Many people in recovery from alcohol addiction need ongoing therapy to stay
Rewriting Your Internal Dialogue
November 26, 2019
While there are the physical aspects of getting clean, the larger shift comes from your mind. One of the hardest aspects of getting clean is facing reality and taking responsibility for the things that have happened as a result of your addiction, along with taking ownership of your future. As an addict stuck in the cycle of using, it can feel impossible to start this task. It always seems to feel like everything is going wrong or one thing after another keeps happening to drag you down. These narratives can easily pull you right back into addictive behaviors.
But all of these ideas are just that–ideas. Together, they become the internal narrative you are writing about yourself. What the addict doesn’t realize is that this narrative is actually being written by addiction. It’s telling you what to do, and you’re blindly following based on a physical or emotional need. Overcoming addiction means rewriting your own narrative by taking back the power you gave to addiction in the first place. What if instead of saying, “Why is this happening to me?” we asked, “What can I learn from this experience?” What if we stopped saying, “Woe is me,” and rewrote the narrative to say, “This too shall pass.” What if we conditioned ourselves to focus on gratitude instead of how everything could possibly get worse? This is how we shift our mindset away from addiction and towards positive change. This is how we reclaim our lives.
Addiction is a liar. Its job is to get you to use at all costs, and it will do so by helping you rationalize the most ridiculous behaviors. It will tell you it’s okay to lie, to steal, to cheat, to do anything so it can have its fix, but while this is happening, your life is at stake. Addiction will keep making these choices because it does not care what happens to you.
Part of getting clean focuses on hearing this demanding voice and deciphering it from your own. Addiction is going to tell you you have the worst luck ever. Addiction is going to tell you everything sucks. And addiction is going to tell you it’s only going to get worse. How do we quiet this voice and hear the good?
Shifting Your Inner Narrative
The longer you’ve been an addict, the more time you are going to spend cranking up the volume of your inner voice. This is the voice that tells you “right” from “wrong”, this is the voice that gives you warnings, and this is the voice that, in the end, always seems to be right. Addiction learns how to yell louder than this voice and eventually tricks you into thinking the voice is you. But your inner narrative, your inner GPS, would never try to put you in harm’s way.
Shifting away from addiction’s call takes time and practice. It means sitting with your inner dialogue and practicing hearing the difference between addiction and you.
- Addiction: Use just one more time. It can’t hurt us.
- You: Using one more time could mean getting kicked out of my home, jail, and even death.
- Addiction: Everything sucks. Why bother cleaning up my life? It’s not worth it.
- You: Things are difficult right now, but if I start to better my life today, think about how much better off I’ll be in a week, a month, a year.
- Addiction: You’re not good enough. You’re not like those other “normal” people. You’re just an addict.
- You: I forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve learned so much about myself, and I’m ready to find the new me who is clean, happy, and thriving.
It’s not always easy to rewrite the narrative in the moment when we hear these negative thoughts come crashing into the forefront of our minds, but like anything, practice makes perfect. The key is realizing you’re having a thought and stop it ASAP. Decipher where it’s coming from, and if it’s not serving your mental health or clearing addiction, ask your mind to release it immediately.
Think about it like a dream. During most of our dreams, we don’t realize we are dreaming, but once in a while, we acknowledge what’s really happening. The more you acknowledge, the easier it gets. The same is true for your waking mind. It may feel like addiction is running you right now, but this is your body and your life. Stand your ground, and fight for the good.
Moving Forward into Health
Addiction’s voice will always be there. It’s a part of our narrative as addicts, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be in control ever again. When faced with difficult thoughts, here are a few options to help you rewrite your narrative.
- Write it out: Take time each day to write out your thoughts and feelings. Actually seeing addiction’s voice on paper is another way to help lower its call in your mind. Highlight your voice in one color and addiction’s voice in another.
- Phone a friend: Call someone who knows your narrative and can help you hear the difference, especially on a rough day.
- Therapy: Individual/group therapy is a great way to work through the negative thoughts to rewrite your narrative. Mental health professionals do this for a living. They can help you stay on track shift your perspective with their years of experience.
- Learn: Reading self-help books and online blogs about addiction can reinforce what you’re going through and help you see addiction’s tricks. Learn about how your mind works and work to improve it through workbooks, podcasts, and more. Every time you sit down and work on you, your inner voice gets stronger and more confident.
Shifting your narrative is not an easy feat, especially when you’re suffering from addiction. If you think you’re ready for help or know someone who is, call Summer House Detox Center at (800) 719-1090 today. Located in South Florida, our mission is to get you clean quickly and safely through our proven step-down method. Call now to find out about our treatment options. You can also visit our addiction treatment center in Miami at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Let us help you rewrite your narrative.
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